How To Cover Wainscoting – A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you tired of the dated look of wainscoting in your home? Maybe you inherited it from the previous owners or it was a design choice that no longer fits your style.

Whatever the reason, covering wainscoting can be a budget-friendly and easy solution to update your space.

In this article, we’ll explore different methods for covering wainscoting, from painting to wallpapering to using sheet metal. Whether you prefer a rustic or modern look, there’s a solution for you.

So let’s dive in and transform your space!

How To Cover Wainscoting

There are several ways to cover wainscoting, depending on your personal style and budget. Here are some options to consider:

Why Cover Wainscoting?

Wainscoting is a popular wall covering that can add depth and texture to a room. However, there may be instances where you want to cover up your wainscoting. Perhaps it is outdated or damaged, or maybe you just want a change in decor. Whatever the reason, there are several options available to cover up your wainscoting.

One reason to cover wainscoting is to update the look of a room. Over time, wainscoting can become outdated and clash with modern decor. By covering it up with a new wall treatment, you can give your room a fresh, updated look.

Another reason to cover wainscoting is if it has become damaged or worn over time. Scratches, dents, and other imperfections can detract from the overall appearance of your walls. By covering up the wainscoting, you can create a smooth, uniform surface that looks brand new.

Finally, covering wainscoting can be a cost-effective way to update your home without undertaking a major renovation. Instead of tearing out the wainscoting and replacing it with a new wall treatment, you can simply cover it up with paint, wallpaper, or another material.

Painting Over Wainscoting

Painting over wainscoting can be a great way to update the look of your room without having to replace the wainscoting altogether. Here are some steps to follow when painting over wainscoting:

1. Prep the Area: Start by covering any areas you don’t want to paint with painter’s tape. Make sure to cover the floor and any adjacent walls as well. Use a cloth or drop cloth to protect the floor from paint drips.

2. Clean the Wainscoting: Before painting, it’s important to clean the wainscoting thoroughly. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the surface, removing any dirt, dust, or grime.

3. Sand the Wainscoting: If the wainscoting has a glossy finish, you’ll need to sand it down before painting. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the surface, creating a rough texture that will help the paint adhere.

4. Apply Primer: Once the wainscoting is clean and sanded, apply a coat of primer. This will help the paint adhere better and create a smooth, even finish.

5. Paint the Wainscoting: After the primer has dried, it’s time to paint! Use a small paintbrush to cut in along the edges where the wainscoting meets the wall and floor. Then use a roller or medium-sized brush to paint the rest of the wainscoting. Be sure to use long strokes and work in one direction for a smooth finish.

6. Apply a Second Coat: After the first coat has dried completely, apply a second coat of paint in the same manner as the first coat.

7. Remove Painter’s Tape: Once you’ve finished painting, remove any painter’s tape immediately to prevent paint from peeling off with the tape.

8. Allow Paint to Dry Completely: Allow the paint to dry and cure completely before returning the area to everyday use.

By following these steps, you can easily update your wainscoting with a fresh coat of paint. Whether you choose a traditional white or something more bold and dramatic, painting over wainscoting can be a great way to refresh your space without breaking the bank.

Removing Wainscoting

Removing wainscoting can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done easily. Before starting, it’s important to clear the room of all furniture and decor, and cover the floors to catch any dirt and debris.

The first step is to break the seal between the wall and the wainscoting. This is usually done with caulk, so use a utility knife to carefully score the caulked areas where your trim meets the wall.

Next, locate the studs using a stud finder or by finding visible nail heads. The wainscoting is nailed to the walls to prevent bowing or buckling due to changes in temperature. Use a pry bar to remove the nails from the wainscoting and out of the walls.

The majority of wainscoting is equipped with a top rail that locks into the panels. Use a pry bar to carefully remove the railing from the wainscoting, being sure to minimize or avoid damage to the walls. Place the rails in a neat pile out of the way so they aren’t a tripping hazard.

Just as with the top of the wainscoting, the bottom is typically equipped with baseboards. Remove these baseboards with a pry bar, being careful not to damage the floor. Place them in a pile with or alongside the rails.

Now you can remove the wainscoting panels from the walls. Place a wood shim against the wall, pushing the pry bar down behind the panels and pull up, using the wood shim as a fulcrum and wall protector.

After removing all of the wainscoting panels, you may be left with glue marks on your walls. These need to be scraped off using a scraper or putty knife. Sometimes this can damage the surface of your drywall, leaving it uneven. To fix this, prime the damaged area with a primer to seal any exposed paper on the drywall that could bubble once joint compound is applied.

Once dry, apply a thin layer of joint compound over any remaining glue marks. If your walls are badly damaged like in some cases, you may need to skim coat several times before sanding lightly and inspecting for small touch-ups.

Removing wainscoting can be messy and time-consuming, but it’s an important step in covering up outdated or damaged wainscoting in your home.

Wallpapering Over Wainscoting

Wallpapering over wainscoting is a great way to update the look of your room without having to remove the existing paneling. However, it is important to properly prepare the wainscoting before applying the wallpaper to ensure a smooth and even finish.

First, clean the wainscoting thoroughly to remove any dirt, dust, or grime. If the paneling has deep grooves, fill them in with caulk and smooth it out with a putty knife. Allow the caulk to dry completely before proceeding.

Next, prime the wainscoting with a stain-blocking latex primer to ensure that the wallpaper adhesive will stick properly. Allow the primer to dry completely before proceeding.

Apply an acrylic-emulsion sizing or one recommended by the wallpaper manufacturer over the primed wainscoting. This will make the surface rougher and help the wallpaper adhere more easily.

Hang a heavy-duty wallpaper liner horizontally over the wainscoting. This will hide any imperfections and create a smooth surface for your decorative wallpaper. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for hanging the liner, making sure to overlap each strip slightly.

Once the liner is in place, you can hang your decorative wallpaper vertically according to the manufacturer’s instructions or our “How To” section. If using paintable wallpaper, wait until it is completely dry before painting. We recommend painting over paintable wallpaper with 2 coats of latex paint.

Wallpapering over wainscoting is a cost-effective and easy way to update the look of your room without having to remove or replace the existing paneling. With proper preparation and application, you can achieve a beautiful and seamless finish that will transform your space.

Using Sheet Metal To Cover Wainscoting

One unique option for covering wainscoting is to use sheet metal. Corrugated metal wainscoting, in particular, can add texture and depth to your walls while also providing protection. Bridger Steel offers wainscoting kits that include everything you need for installation, making it easy for DIYers to tackle this project.

When using sheet metal to cover wainscoting, you have several styles to choose from. For example, Bridger Steel offers corrugated metal wainscoting in three styles or corrugated barn tin wainscoting in four styles. These panels can be used for both interior and exterior projects and come in a variety of sizes.

One advantage of using sheet metal for wainscoting is that it can add an industrial touch to your walls. The strong combination of contemporary and industrial style is visible in the picture above, where corrugated metal wall paneling gives a significant contribution. Additionally, sheet metal can easily get along with other materials that represent the industrial style, such as wood panels and concrete floors.

Tips And Tricks For A Successful Wainscoting Cover-Up

If you’re looking to cover up wainscoting, there are a few tips and tricks to consider for a successful outcome. Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Clean the Panels: Before doing anything else, make sure to wipe down the panels to remove any dust or debris. This will ensure a smooth and uniform finish.

2. Use Wallpaper Liner: If you want to wallpaper over the wainscoting, use a wallpaper liner first. This will hide any imperfections on the walls and make them nice and flat for wallpapering. Be sure to remove any metal corner beading before starting.

3. Consider Solid Material: If you prefer a more traditional look, consider using solid material like individual beaded boards that are usually 5/8″ thick. Choose a back band or outside corner molding to cover the end grain of the boards, and add another molding on the vertical surface for added decoration.

4. Built-In Bookcases: Another option is to build built-in bookcases that help obscure the wainscoting while adding a decorative backdrop. You can also stack books in front of the wainscoting to cover it up completely.

5. Experiment with Accessories: Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with accessories like artwork or mirrors to draw attention away from the wainscoting. This can be an easy and affordable way to cover it up without breaking the bank.

By following these tips and tricks, you can successfully cover up wainscoting and create a fresh new look for your space.